A new Major League baseball season is here. However, I don’t feel the same sense of optimism for the Toronto Blue Jays’ chances of winning the World Series as I have in the previous few seasons.
I feel like the Jays are going to take a step back this year.
By the time this edition of the Caped Cearnsader runs, the Blue Jays will have already played their first couple of regular season games. But, because of press time, I will be basing my judgement on the actions they took, or didn’t take, in the off-season as well as their preseason play.
So why do I feel this team is not going to do as well as they did last year? Let’s first look at the roster. The Toronto Blue Jays had another underwhelming off-season and lost yet another big name free agent. In 2015, pitcher David Price left the Jays to sign with the Boston Red Sox. This time around, it was Edwin Encarnacion, who was first on the team in home runs and second on the team in hits. They replaced Encarnacion with Kendrys Morales.
I do have to give Morales credit, he is a good hitter. Last season, he did hit 30 home runs and had 93 RBI. But Edwin had much higher numbers than that in each of his last five seasons with the Jays. Not to mention as well, Edwin does bring more defensive capabilities to the table, having played at first base a bit last season.
The Blue Jays bullpen didn’t seem to get much of an upgrade, with the only notable signing in that position being J.P. Howell.
Conversely, the teams in the same division as the Jays have improved. The Yankees signed Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman, the Red Sox signed Mitch Moreland and the Tampa Bay Rays made a bunch of signings, including Colby Rasmus.
The Blue Jays also did not have a great preseason, finishing with a record of 12 wins and 18 losses, the worst Grapefruit League record in the American League.
To put this in perspective, last season the Jays’ record in spring training was 17-8, and in 2015 their spring training record was 19-13. Both of those years, the Jays were in the top three in the Grapefruit League.
I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think the Blue Jays will enjoy as much success this year as they have in the past few years.
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Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy